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Wayne Rooney loving life at DC United

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Wayne Rooney is loving the quiet life in the United States of America.

The all-time leading goalscorer for England and Manchester United made his MLS debut on Saturday, coming on for the final 33 minutes as D.C. United won 3-1 against the Vancouver Whitecaps in their own debut at their new $500 million Audi Field home.

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Rooney, 32, impressed in his brief spell on the pitch as DCU’s loyal fans celebrated a marque moment for the franchise in their new stadium and with a big-name Designated Player wearing the No. 9 jersey.

The former Manchester United and Everton man assisted Paul Arriola for D.C. United’s third goal and was involved in the build-up for their second as his clever touches and flicks impressed in his brief cameo. With 14 of their final 19 games of the season at their new home due to Audi Field opening on July 14, Rooney will be hoping to drag DCU up the Eastern Conference standings as they currently sit bottom.

Speaking to the Daily Mail around his arrival in MLS, Rooney lauded life off the pitch in the capital city as he hasn’t been recognized strolling through a mall or going to a coffee shop.

“I know I can relax a bit more. At home, you are looking over your shoulder and having to think to yourself, ‘What is going on there?’ You don’t know who is watching you and you have to be careful with what you are doing all the time,” Rooney said. “I think I can have a quiet life now and, when the children come over, I’m sure the time I get to spend with them in public will be a lot better now. It has been very easy to settle. I’ve been made to feel very comfortable. I’ve got freedom to be me, which hasn’t always been the case.”

And here is exactly why a move to MLS appeals to so many superstars who, like Rooney, have been followed everywhere for their entire career. Tales of Steven Gerrard hanging out at the beach with his kids and Thierry Henry jumping on the subway in NYC are plentiful as star players get the chance of that “freedom” Rooney talked about.

Rooney has been in the public eye for 16 years since he burst onto the scene as a teenager in the Premier League and now he’s enjoying the quiet life in the D.C. suburbs. Can you blame him?

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic loving the attention in LA and the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and David Villa also seen out and about at events in Chicago and New York City respectively, Rooney will no doubt take on a similar role to interact with the sports community in D.C.

That said, it seems like he’s enjoying popping down to the local coffee shop and hanging out at the mall right now.

Columbus adds Mullins in bid to strengthen playoff stock

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Patrick Mullins has dropped down the DC United depth chart, and that’s just where Columbus was happy to see him.

Gregg Berhalter and the Crew have scooped up the two-time MAC Hermann Trophy winner as the best college player, sending $150,000 in Targeted Allocation Money to the Black-and-Red.

[ MORE: Kane on ENG loss | Player ratings ]

DC has added Wayne Rooney in addition to Jamaican striker Darren Mattocks.

Mullins, 26, is yet to score this season but has 23 goals and nine assists in five-and-a-half seasons between New England, New York City FC, and DC.

He made just two starts amongst his 10 league appearances this season.

It’s a clever scoop for Columbus, who is trading a league-allocated asset for a regular contributor to MLS score sheets and can produce like Will Bruin with more opportunities.

Rooney looks to lead DC ‘on and off of the pitch’

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Wayne Rooney knows DC United needs a lot of work to get back to into the playoff race, let alone its previous glory.

But the longtime Manchester United and England man thinks he’s the sort of guy who can fill the nets with goals and the Black-and-Red supporters with hope.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

And with Luciano Acosta, Paul Arriola, and Yamil Asad, there’s reason for Rooney to think he can be the straw that stirs the proverbial drink.

From DCUnited.com:

“I think there is talent in the team, maybe with a little bit of guidance and a little bit of help, on and off of the pitch, I can help them and they can help me. So, I am looking forward to it — a new challenge, a new culture, a new league to play in and new teammates. I’m excited for the first game, I can’t wait to get started.”

There’s also reason to be hopeful that Rooney can lead young American stars Chris Durkin and Ian Harkes in the ways of professionalism (not that there are any signs Ben Olsen’s young men are missing it).

I’ve made it clear in my posts about Rooney that I’d be stunned to see him fail to make a positive on-field impact at DC, though whether that translates into enough wins to move the meter in 2018 remains to be seen.

But he thinks he’s found the right American city for him.

“I’ve been to places like L.A. and New York and it’s too hectic, it’s like London. For me, I never fancied going to live in London. I need my own space to get away from things when I need to, and Washington seemed to give me that opportunity to do that.”

Read his quote sheet here.

Report: Rooney to sign with DC United by end of week

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Wayne Rooney to Major League Soccer will be confirmed Thursday, according to Sky Sports.

A Monday press conference will follow, where DC United will unveil its latest acquisition.

Rooney, 32, posted 10 goals with two assists for Everton this season, his first with the Merseyside club after a record-shattering time at Manchester United.

[ MORE: Rodwell to MLS? ]

And Carl Robinson’s Whitecaps could be staring down England’s leading goal scorer when they help DC christen Audi Field.

According to Sky:

He could then make his debut against four days later against Vancouver Whitecaps at the opening of the new £140m 20,000-seater Audi Field stadium in Washington.

Once his MLS career is over, Rooney is expected to return to Goodison Park as a coach after reportedly negotiating a deal with Everton.

As we detailed previously, Rooney is likely to succeed in MLS almost regardless of the measuring stick. If he doesn’t, at least DC will get a bunch of sell-outs and sell a whole lot of black-and-red shirts nationwide.

Jermain Defoe, the England star and ex-TFC man, told Sky Sports that he believes MLS is a place where previously under-scrutiny Premier League players can “enjoy their football”:

“There is not so much pressure on and off the pitch. He could probably enjoy his life a little bit without constantly watching what you do and the things you say.”

U.S. Open Cup wrap: Louisville ousts Revs, DC dodges “Cupset”

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Three of eight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fourth round matches are complete following Tuesday night action involving USL and MLS competition.

[ MORE: World Cup stadium guide ]

Louisville City 3-2 New England Revolution

The USL hosts overcame a fifth minute concession and 26th minute own goal with a pair of equalizers, and took hold of its “Cupset” with a Brian Ownby 62nd minute marker.

Mark Segbers opened the scoring for New England before Oscar Jimenez leveled the tie. An own goal put Brad Friedel‘s men back on top, but Cameron Lancaster made it 2-2 in the 37th minute.

But Ownby’s goal, well, it was befitting of a big moment in the nascent life of Lou City.

DC United 1-1 North Carolina FC (NCFC wins in PKs)

Ian Harkes scored an Open Cup goal for the second successive season, but his first half goal was met in the second by Marios Lomis seven minutes from stoppage time.

The match went to penalty kicks after 120 minutes were in the books. David Ousted stopped NC’s second effort and the visitors his the cross bar with their fourth shot. Harkes then sent his chance to clinch it wide of the frame, but Bruno Miranda netted the fifth effort.

Philadelphia Union 5-0 Richmond Kickers

Philly built a 4-0 halftime lead, cruising to a win on the strength of five goal scorers: Jack Elliott, David Accam, Anthony Fontana, Marcus Epps, and Jay Simpson.

The Union lost consecutive finals in 2014 and 2015, and move on to another quarterfinal round.